UPDATED MONDAY, 3:30 p.m.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
College football: Heisman Trophy presentation, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Before the 2011 season started, you could have gotten 7-to-2 odds by Bodog.com on Stanford’s Andrew Luck to win the Heisman Trophy. Late last week, the odds closed to 5-to-4. So maybe the official announcement on this night won’t be all that surprising. Still it’s interesting to see how the rest of the group that’s expected to be the final five candidates came pretty far from the pre-season prognostications.
Like USC’s Matt Barkley — 45-to-1 by Bodog.com last summer, but 15-to-1 today. Head to head, Barkley’s numbers may even impress Heisman voters enough to take him over Luck — he completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while Luck has completed 70 percent for 3,170 yards, 35 TDs with nine picks. Against common opponents (that’s six Pac-12 teams and Notre Dame), Barkley (2,125 yards, 26 TDs and three picks) bested Luck (1,837 yards, 19 TDs, five picks). Yet, as it turns out Monday, Barkley wasn’t even one of the five invited — Luck is going, with Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (who wasn’t even on the radar two weeks ago) and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. Do the Heisman voters still have some kind of anti-USC, anti-Reggie Bush backlash going on here?
NFL: San Diego at Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The storyline surrounding Jack Del Rio’s firing last week and the team being sold plays well for the Jags in calling attention to their franchise in a season where no one really has been paying attention. How about winner gets the inside track on moving to L.A.? And loser wonders why they even keep trying. San Diego is amidst its longest skid in a decade — seven losses in a row — and coach Norv Turner’s time might be running out, too. Maurice Jones-Drew has run for 1,040 yards to top the 1,000-yard mark for a third consecutive season. His 3,755 rushing yards since the beginning of the 2009 season are the second-most in the NFL. Jones-Drew was held to 31 yards in a 38-13 loss at San Diego last season.
College basketball: St. John’s at Detroit Mercy, 4 p.m., ESPN2:
Oh Mercy: They’re going to rename their home court after former head coach Dick Vitale. The hope was that by now, Steve Lavin wouldl be there as well to coach St. John’s, but he’s still resting up.
NHL: Kings at Ducks, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW:
New Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau might keep his AAA card nearby: He gets a crash course in the Freeway Face-Off, with the Kings having already done a hit-and-run with wins in the first two meetings a few weeks ago. The problem for the Kings this time is Mike Richards is too groggy to participate, missing his first game last Saturday in the loss to Montreal after playing in the first 25 and racking up a team-high 11 goals with 20 points. Richards has three goals already against Anaheim. Jonathan Quick beat the Ducks both times, once against Jonas Hiller and the other against Dan Ellis. And Kings coach Terry Murray is still trying to become the 17th NHL coach with 500 regular-season wins.
College basketball: Pepperdine at Northern Arizona, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
The Waves (4-3) have a tuneup before meeting Cal State Northridge on Satuday at 7 p.m.
NHL: Kings vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Back on Nov. 12, the Kings got one point from 12 players in their 5-2 win over the Wild, who started the week tied with Chicago for the best record in the Western Conference and winners of three in a row.
NFL: Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:
Road teams have been 1-4 in NFL Thursday night games this season. The only team that won is one that didn’t have to travel to a different time zone during the week after a Sunday game — Oakland, winning 24-17 at San Diego in Week 10. The Browns are in the same time zone as the Steelers — but will still get clobbered.
High school football: CIF Southern Section Northern Division final: Westlake at Oaks Christian, 7:30 p.m.:
The two schools that are about a mile apart play each other the fourth time in two years, and second time in a row in the Northern Division final. Bill Ridell (right) and Oaks Christian may have pulled off the upset this time last year, but doing it again would even be a bigger deal. Jim Benkert (left) and Westlake (13-0, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 4 nationally) could be headed for the Open Division state championship as it comes off the 62-0 win over Thousand Oaks in the semifinals. Oaks Christian (11-2) got a 25-of-29 passing day by sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins in a three-point win over St. Bonaventure in their semifinal encounter. At 8 p.m., on Prime Ticket, it’s the Inland Division final between Centennial Corona and Vista Murietta.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Penn, Honda Center, 4 p.m., FSW:
What are the odds the Reeves Nelson is booted off the Bruins’ roster, and Josh Smith is so depressed about it he’s caught smuggling mac-n-cheese into a team meeting? It’s not the Wooden Classic game that you think it might be this time of year. Instead, that’s been moved to Jan. 5 of next year against Arizona. This one will have to be content with acting as just another non-conference game.
College basketball: USC vs. New Mexico, Galen Center, 4 p.m., Prime:
Here’s the first of four in a row at home that includes games against Georgia, TCU and Kansas.
College football: Army vs. Navy, Landover, Md., Channel 2, 11:30 a.m.:
What’s the rush? Army (3-8), leading the nation in rushing at 350 yards a game, was locked into playing a Pac-12 school (UCLA?) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 31. Navy (4-7), fourth in the country in rushing at 313 yards a game, is headed to the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., against an ACC team on Dec. 28. But this is really their annual bowl meeting between the two academies. It has its own website, for cryin’ out loud (www.armynavygame.com), which makes no mention of the fact that Air Force finished 7-5 and defeated both teams in the regular season.
Documentary: “The Marinovich Project,” 6 p.m., ESPN; 8 p.m., ESPN2:
ESPN wants to tell what it calls is the “unvarnished story” of Todd Marinovich, the former USC and L.A. Raiders quarterback whose pro career imploded on him after two years, leading to drug addiction and bizarre arrests, with much of the blame laid on Marinovich’s father, Marv, who tried to raise the perfectly defined quarterback from the time Todd was a toddler. What went wrong? Maybe we’ll never know. This documentary will try to at least dig up something that happened 20 years ago.
NHL: Kings vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Kings gave away a 3-2 overtime game to the Stars on Nov. 23 after having a two-goal lead in the third period. Dallas somehow leads the Pacific Division while giving up more goals than it has scored.
High school football: CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division final: Santa Margarita vs. San Clemente, Angel Stadium, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The Division I bowl bid likely goes to the Pac-5 winner, unless Upland wins the Inland Division and goes undefeated. Also tonight: Sierra Canyon faces Paraclete in the East Valley Division title game at Antelope Valley College.
College soccer: NCAA men’s championship at Hoover, Ala., 1 p.m., ESPNU:
No. 13-seed UCLA (18-4-1), which has won this thing three times since 1990, has clawed its way into the Final Four of the College Cup with eight straight shutouts, but now have to face top-seed North Carolina in one of Friday’s semifinals (3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU; Charlotte faces Creighton in the other semifinal.)
NFL: N.Y. Giants at Dallas, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
These two meet twice in the last four weeks of the season, including the Jan. 1 regular-season finale. That seems like a fair way to determine the NFC East playoff picture.
NFL: Oakland at Green Bay, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
The Packers’ community ownership just announced it was selling stock for $250 a pop to raise money so it can fix up Lambeau Field. Best to hold off repair estimations until after traveling Raiders fans return home to their caves.
NFL: Chicago at Denver, 1 p.m., Channel 11:
Tebow TV is gold.